Children’s Dental Surgery will do everything we can to make procedure day run smoothly for you and your child. To help prepare you for what to expect, please carefully review the outline below.
You will report directly to the surgery center and check in with the front desk at the time given to you. After check in, one of the pre-op nurses will call you and your child back to the children’s pre-operative area to begin their surgery process.
Admittance and Preparations
- Your child will change into a gown on the stretcher provided.
- A nurse will talk with your child about what they are going to do. They usually check vital signs and allow the child to watch TV to ensure comfort. We suggest the parents bring an item from home to help keep the child comfortable (e.g., a stuffed animal, lovey, blanket work well).
- During this time, the nurse will ask the parents some questions regarding his/her history to ensure we have the correct information.
- When the nurse is finished admitting the child, the anesthesiologist will come over and introduce his/herself. They will explain to the parents how the anesthesia process works and answer any questions.
- Your child MAY be given premedication of a pink liquid, called Versed, which is a calming medication, usually about 20-30 minutes prior to the child going into the OR. This is given at the discretion of the anesthesiologist and the appropriateness of its administration will be determined by them the morning of surgery.
- Prior to entering the OR, the surgeon will come out, introduce themselves, and explain and/or answer any questions about the procedure. They will explain that x-rays will be taken in the operating room once the child is asleep, regardless of whether the child had them done in the dental office, to ensure that any work that is necessary at that time is completed. The goal is to bring the child back to 100% oral health.
- After the procedure is complete, the dentist will explain what was found on the x-rays in the dental office, if they were able to obtain them, and then what they found on the intraoperative x-rays, and what work was done during the procedure as a result.
- Please note that the dentists may or may not come out after the x-rays are taken in the OR to tell you what they found and what they will do. This is to save time and ensure that your child is not under anesthesia any longer than is medically necessary.
- When prepared, your child will be transported on the stretcher to the OR.
- The child then is given a mask over their face with anesthesia gases for them to breathe, and they are usually sedated within 5-10 seconds. We call this “blowing up the balloon” because there is a colored bag on the machine that moves in and out as the child breathes in the gases.
- Your child will then be under general anesthesia, which means they will have a tube placed down their throat into their lungs so they can have the ventilator breathe for them. When the dentist is done working, the child will wake up from anesthesia and the tube will be taken out of the child’s throat as soon as they are able to breathe on their own.
- After your child is asleep, an IV will be started. The IV will deliver medication and fluids.
- After the procedure is completed, the child will recover in a private recovery room.
- The recovery nurse will monitor your child’s vital signs, and usually bring the parents back within a few minutes of the child reaching the recovery room.
- Children sometimes will wake up very restless. This is because they are nervous and “feeling weird” when coming out of anesthesia, not because they are in pain.
- Usually the child is given pain medication during the procedure through their IV to help with after the procedure, along with the Dentist injecting local numbing medication to the site (if needed).
- Once he/she is calm and vital signs appear stable, they can have something to drink, their IV will be taken out (which will not hurt), and they can go home. The child will probably be in recovery with us for about 30-45 minutes.
- Post-operative instructions will be reviewed with you prior to your child’s discharge.
- These instructions usually encourage no straw usage, no hard food or gummy/sticky substances, as both can pull the caps off the teeth.
- You should progress your child’s diet slowly to ensure they can tolerate what they are eating; anesthesia can affect patients’ stomachs adversely at times.
- Make sure you wash your child’s teeth and mouth with a soft cloth frequently to keep them clean. Begin to brush as soon as tolerated.
Items to bring the day of surgery
- Your child’s medical insurance cards
- Your picture ID
- If your child is a foster child, you will need to provide documentation of this upon arrival at the center. This would include any court paperwork issued to you. Consents will need to be signed prior to the day of the procedure by an individual who is legally authorized to do so.
- A toy, doll, lovey or blanket that makes your child feel secure in their surroundings
- A book or laptop for yourself while your child is in surgery since it is a state requirement that one parent stay on-site at all times while the child is in the facility.
- Any snacks you wish to have yourself, as you will not be able to leave the premises while your child is in the OR.
- PLEASE REMEMBER – make all arrangements possible to keep any other children at home during the time your child needs to have her procedure. It is often difficult for other children to sit in one place.
The entire process from registration to discharge can up to take 4-6 hours, so please make sure you do not make other plans for that day. We will be happy to provide a note for work or school as necessary. Please ask our staff.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the surgery center you are scheduled at and they would be happy to assist you. If you’d like to visit the center before your scheduled procedure date, they would be happy to schedule that for you as well. We look forward to providing you and your child with excellent care and service!